Skip to content
Printer-friendly version

CMA Participation Criteria and Definition of Terms

California Modified Assessment Participation Criteria

These criteria for guiding individualized education program (IEP) teams in making decisions about which students with disabilities should participate in the California Modified Assessment (CMA) are based, in part, on Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 200—Title I—Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged.

  1. Previous Participation

The student shall have taken the California Standards Test (CST) in a previous year and scored Below Basic or Far Below Basic in the subject area being assessed by the CMA and may have taken the CST with modifications.


Previous participation in the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) shall not preclude a student from participation in the CMA.

Note:   The student shall not be allowed to take both the CAPA and CMA. Students shall take either:

– CAPA in all subject areas;

– CST in all subject areas;

– CMA in all subject areas; or

– a combination of CST and CMA in the subject areas being assessed.

  1. Progress Based On Multiple Measures and Objective Evidence

The student’s disability has precluded the student from achieving grade-level proficiency, as demonstrated by such objective evidence as the student’s performance on the CST and other assessments that can validly document academic achievement within the year covered by the student’s IEP plan. The determination of the student’s progress must be based on multiple measurements, over a period of time that are valid for the subjects being assessed.

  1. Response To Appropriate Instruction

The student’s progress to date in response to appropriate grade- level instruction, including special education and related services designed to address the student’s individual needs, is such that, even if significant growth occurs, the IEP team is reasonably certain that the student will not achieve grade-level proficiency within the year covered by the student’s IEP plan.

  1. High School Diploma

The student who takes alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards is not precluded from attempting to complete requirements, as defined by the State, for a regular high school diploma.

Note:   Students must continue to meet the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) requirement in order to receive a diploma from a California public high school.

  1. Parents Are Informed

Parents of the students selected to be assessed with the CMA are informed that their child’s achievement will be measured based on modified achievement standards.

Note:   The test, while based on grade level content, is less rigorous than the CST.

California Modified Assessment Additional Decision Making Considerations for CMA

  1. The decision to participate in the CMA is not based on the amount of time the student is receiving special education services.
  2. The decision to participate in the CMA is not based on excessive or extended absences.
  3. The decision to participate in the CMA is not based on language, culture, or economic differences.
  4. The decision to participate in the CMA is not based solely on the student’s disability (i.e., deafness/blindness, visual, auditory and or motor disabilities) but rather the student’s inability to appropriately demonstrate his or her knowledge on the California content standards through the CST.
  5. The decision to use the CMA is an IEP team decision based on student needs.

California Modified Assessment Definition of Terms

CAPA is designed to assess those students with significant cognitive disabilities who cannot participate in the CST or the CMA even with accommodations and/or modifications. The CDE developed CAPA to comply with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. CAPA links directly to the California academic content standards at each grade level and accurately reflects the portions of the content standards from Kindergarten through high school that are accessible to students with significant cognitive disabilities. CAPA is given in grade spans (Levels I – V).

CMA is designed to assess those students whose disabilities preclude them from achieving grade-level proficiency on an assessment of the California content standards with or without accommodations. The CMA has been developed to provide more access so students can better demonstrate their knowledge of the California content standards. The CDE developed CMA to comply with the flexibility offered through the provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

CST in English-language arts, mathematics, science, and history-social science are administered only to students in California public schools. Except for a writing component that is administered as part of the grade four and seven English-language arts tests, all questions are multiple-choice. These tests were developed specifically to assess students' knowledge of the California content standards.

California content standards were adopted by the State Board of Education and specify what all California children are expected to know and be able to do in each grade or course.

Goals are those written by the IEP team, while not inclusive, for reading, writing, and mathematics and may include support for those areas in additional courses or study.

Grade-level proficiency refers to the student’s level of knowledge and degree of mastery of the California Content Standards for the subjects being assessed. This grade-level proficiency should not be confused with the STAR Performance Levels as reported on the STAR student report

Objective evidence is the most recent data available for the student’s performance on the California Standards Test (CST), CAPA, or CMA and locally used assessments and/or assignments, whether used for placement, diagnosis or to track student progress throughout the year.

Modified academic achievement standards are used to measure the students achievement on the California Modified Assessment; are aligned to the California content standards, but less difficult than the grade-level academic achievement standards; and are developed through a validated standard setting process.

Multiple Measures are various assessments and/or instruments, including STAR program assessments, as well as locally used assessments and/or assignments, whether used for placement, diagnosis or to track student progress throughout the year.

Valid refers to the degree to which evidence and theory support the intended purpose of the test and the interpretation of test scores for the subjects being assessed.

Questions:   Standardized Testing and Reporting Program | | 916-445-8765
Download Free Readers